Battle of Honkaniemi

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Battle of Honkaniemi (Lebedevka)
Part of Winter War
Date25–27 February 1940
Result Soviet victory
Foreign Volunteers
 Soviet Union
Commanders and leaders
FinlandCol.Voldemar Oinonen
FinlandCapt. I. Kunnas
FinlandLt. O. Heinonen
Soviet UnionCol. V.Kashuba
Soviet UnionCapt. V.S.Arkhipov
Soviet UnionCapt. A.Makarov
23rd Division
(Jaeger Battalion 3
4th Armoured Company
4th Infantry Battalions
2nd Artillery Battalions)
Elements of the 84th Division
Elements of 35th Light Tank Brigade
(112. Armored Battalion)
Casualties and losses
33 casualties
6 tanks
3 tanks

The Battle of Honkaniemi was fought between Finnish and Soviet forces on 26 February 1940. This battle was fought by tanks. It was only time they were used in the Winter War.[1]

The commander of the Finnish II Corps, General Harald Öhquist, had put the Jaeger Battalion 3 with the 4th company of the Armoured Battalion and the 23rd Division.

At 10:15 pm, the commander of the Jaeger Battalion 3, Captain I. Kunnas and Lieutenant O. Heinonen of the 4th Armoured Company were ordered to attack.

The plan[change | change source]

The original plan was to attack the Soviets with six Infantry Battalions, four artillery battalions and the 4th Armoured Company. However, only four Infantry Battalions, two artillery battalions and the 4th Tank Company did the attack.

The assault[change | change source]

On the nights of February 25 and 26, members of the Jaeger Battalion went by truck and by skiing to get to the battle. The tank company lost five of their 13 Vickers 6-Ton tanks due to engine failure. There was another problem. When the Finns started to use their artillery guns, they accidentally killed or wounded 30 Finns.

The beginning[change | change source]

Another two Finnish tanks stopped working. This meant that the Finnish only had six tanks for the battle. Even after all these set-backs, there were more to come. The 1st Jaeger Battalion was fired on by the Soviets. Then this battalion came to a railway track, but they could not cross it. The 2nd and 3rd Jaeger Battalions also stopped.

Tank backup[change | change source]

The 4th Armoured Company got a tank stuck in a ditch. The remaining five tanks were hit by T-26s, T-28s and 45 mm anti-tank guns".[2] The tank of Corporal E. Seppälä hit two Soviet tanks. However, the crew had to abandon the tank because it stopped working. The other Finnish tank destroyed one Soviet tank before being damaged.[2]

Finnish retreat[change | change source]

Captain Kunnas got orders at 10:00 pm to stop the attack and retreat. The Finns' first tank battle was not a success. The tank battle had been fought with crews who did not have much experience. As well, they had almost no radio communication.

Afterwards[change | change source]

The battle caused the deaths of one NCO. Two officers and two NCOs were injured. As well, three privates were reported missing. The Finnish troopers kept on trying to attack the Soviets.

References[change | change source]

  1. Jeff Crosby, The Battle of Honkainemi Archived 2016-06-16 at the Wayback Machine
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sami H. E. Korhonen, The battle of Honkaniemi

Other websites[change | change source]

Coordinates: 60°39′N 28°47′E / 60.650°N 28.783°E / 60.650; 28.783